The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels just finished a three-game set in Anaheim, California. It was capped off by Shohei Ohtani hitting a game-winning three-run home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. This was a historic home run as Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 home runs and record 10 pitching wins in a single season. That is what prompted this article. Shohei Ohtani continues to do things that we have never seen before, and it feels like people ignore it because they’ve come to expect it from him.
— Sportskeeda Baseball (@sportskeeda_mlb) September 1, 2022
Aaron Judge is elite and having one of the best hitting seasons in American League history. I do think he will break the home run record he is chasing. When I suggest that Shohei Ohtani is the easy MVP, it is in no way a slight on Judge. Before Yankees fans attack me for this, know that I think Judge in almost any other season, would be a unanimous MVP winner. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
The best argument for Ohtani as the Most Valuable Player in the league is simply the economic factor of two players-in-one. Ohtani’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is 7.3, second only to Judge (7.7). When you split it up, Ohtani’s WAR as a hitter comes out to 3.0, while his WAR as a pitcher is 4.3. When you combine the WAR with his pitching statistics, Ohtani as a pitcher is comparable to Zac Gallen, who is the clear ace for the Arizona Diamondbacks and is having a phenomenal season. When doing the same with his hitting numbers, it is very comparable to how last year’s home run king, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., is performing this season. There are obviously other great players to pull from when doing this exercise with Ohtani but pulling Gallen and Guerrero Jr. as two comparable players puts things into perspective.
By sheer economics, Ohtani is the MVP in the MLB. Ohtani, by only WAR, would be third on the Yankees behind Judge and DJ LeMahieu. However, we know that Ohtani is a much better and more dangerous hitter than LeMahieu. Ohtani would be the clear second most dangerous bat in the Yankees lineup. From a pitching WAR perspective, Ohtani would be a clear number one above Cole and Nestor Cortes. It is debatable who is having the better season, Ohtani or Cole. So, at the absolute worst, Ohtani would be the second-best hitter and the second-best pitcher on the Yankees roster. He does it all while only taking up one roster spot. That, by definition, is value.
This photo of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout may just be the sickest photo of all time 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/fWBFqU7Pl3
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) August 30, 2022
I love both players, Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani. However, what Ohtani is doing is truly unprecedented. People need to stop acting like what he’s doing is totally normal. Judge is having a phenomenal season and I hope he breaks the home run record. If nothing said in this article changed your mind, then I will leave you with this. Shohei Ohtani has more home runs than the home run king last season and MVP runner-up, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He also has a lower ERA than last year’s Cy Young winner, Corbin Burnes. In the wise words of Stan Lee, “Nuff said”.